Muscat – With South Asian currencies depreciating sharply in recent days against the US dollar, the remittance industry sees this as a good opportunity for expats to send money home. There is already an increase in traffic to exchange houses in Muscat, according to industry officials.

One US dollar hit 76.98 Indian rupees (INR) on Tuesday, while the biggest decline was seen for the Sri Lankan rupee (US$1=202.74). With depreciation, RO1 was equal to 200 INR, 466 Pakistani rupees, 527 Sri Lankan rupees and 223 Bangladeshi taka.

According to KJ Prabhu, Managing Director of Mustafa Sultan Exchange, INR hit an all-time low on Tuesday after the previous record high during the COVID-19 pandemic. “If crude prices break through US$130 and stay there, then INR may even touch US$78.50. Apart from India, the South Asian currencies of Pakistan, Philippines, Bangladesh, Nepal, etc. also depreciated against the US dollar. The Sri Lankan rupee saw the biggest decline,” he said.

Speaking about the ability for expats to send money home, an official from Global Money Exchange said, “We have seen an increase in the number of customers in our exchange since yesterday and we expect more today and in the next few days. There are many people who hold money for a long time and wait for the right time. We see these people – mainly from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh – coming and sending funds now.

Prabhu said that the overall situation could turn bad for the economies of these countries, “although expatriates living abroad naturally find this scenario favorable to send money home”.

“Many find it is also a good time to plan investments in reliable assets back home. The volume of remittances for us has been on an upward trend compared to the previous two months of 2022. The long-term impacts on economies depend on the longevity and resolution of the current geopolitical tension.

Raqiz Kazi, an Indian expat working as a marketing manager, said: “It’s really an unlucky time for me; with rising prices and salary delays and cuts, it is almost impossible for me to save and send money home.

For Abbas Bukhari, a Pakistani national working as an accountant, it’s a good time. “The last few months have been difficult. But somehow I managed to save a good amount of money. I was waiting for this chance. I finally managed to send a large sum.